American motorists spent an average of 51 minutes driving approximately 31.5 miles each day in 2016 and 2017 — a 5% increase over the 48 minutes and 29.9 miles reported in 2014-2015, according to a new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The survey data is intended to help quantify traffic risks by assessing people's exposure to risk based on the number of miles and time they spend on the roadways.
Americans are spending more time behind the wheel — in fact, an additional 20 minutes each week compared to 2014. Moreover, drivers are going the distance — with survey respondents reporting traveling more than 220 miles every week.
Over the course of the year, Americans collectively spent 70 billion hours driving, which translates into an 8% increase over 2014. Nationwide, drivers made 183 billion trips, driving 2.6 trillion miles, in 2016 and 2017.
The survey authors note that longer time behind the wheel could lead to higher risk on the road. For example, drowsy driving, distraction, and impatience for other drivers, are all contributing factors for vehicle crashes. The latest survey findings indicate that it's more important that ever for motorists to stay alert and focused on their driving.
The survey also explored who is driving more often. Noteworthy, older drivers (age 75 and up) spend 8 minutes a day driving — up 23% since 2014. Men are driving more than women — they spend 19% more time behind the wheel and drive 27% more miles than their female counterparts.
Location also plays a role. In 2014-2015 and 2016-2017, drivers who lived in the country reported driving more miles than those living in a town or city.